Volume 28, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0957-6851
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9838
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes


The concept of relationships is one that is central to numerous subfields within communication, including interpersonal, organizational, and public relations. This conceptual paper investigates the notion of relationships and proposes a framework to understand and explicate corporate-community relationships (CCRs), a specific type of organization-public relationships (OPRs). In developing this framework, we draw upon existing literature and our experiences in Liberia related to natural resource management (NRM) as part of a multi-year collaborative peacebuilding initiative. We advance a framework of CCRs that (a) helps develop further empirical research and knowledge about these relationships and (b) contributes to the practice of more transformative relationships between Western and Asian multinational corporations (MNCs) and local communities in West Africa and beyond. This framework puts forth our conceptualization of CCRs as (a) constituted by the communicative, (b) dynamic, constantly influenced by macro and micro factors, and (c) complex. Drawing on our framework, we also advance some guiding questions for a research agenda in this area.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Alvesson, M. , & Kärreman, D.
    (2000) Varieties of discourse: On the study of organizations through discourse analysis. Human Relations, 53, 1125–1149. doi: 10.1177/0018726700539002
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0018726700539002 [Google Scholar]
  2. Ashcraft, K. A. , Kuhn, T. R. , & Cooren, F.
    (2009) Constitutional amendments: “materializing” organizational communication. Academy of Management Annals, 3, 1–64. doi: 10.1080/19416520903047186
    https://doi.org/10.1080/19416520903047186 [Google Scholar]
  3. Bakar, H. A. , & Connaughton, S. L.
    (2009) Relationships between supervisory communication and commitment to workgroup: A multilevel analysis approach. International Journal of Strategic Communication, 4, 39–57. doi: 10.1080/15531180903415939
    https://doi.org/10.1080/15531180903415939 [Google Scholar]
  4. Botan, C. H. , & Taylor, M.
    (2004) Public relations: State of the field. Journal of communication, 54, 645–661. doi: 10.1111/j.1460‑2466.2004.tb02649.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1460-2466.2004.tb02649.x [Google Scholar]
  5. Broom, G. M. , Casey, S. , & Ritchey, J.
    (1997) Toward a concept and theory of organization-public relationships. Journal of Public Relations Research, 9, 83–98. doi: 10.1207/s1532754xjprr0902_01
    https://doi.org/10.1207/s1532754xjprr0902_01 [Google Scholar]
  6. Calvano, L.
    (2008) Multinational corporations and local communities: A critical analysis. Journal of Business Ethics, 82, 793–805. doi: 10.1007/s10551‑007‑9593‑z
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-007-9593-z [Google Scholar]
  7. Casey, S.
    (1997) A framework for studying organization-public relationships: Measuring relationship state and process. Unpublished master’s thesis, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Dozier, D. M. , & Lauzen, M. M.
    (2000) Liberating the intellectual domain from the practice: Public relations, activism, and the role of the scholar. Journal of Public Relations Research, 12, 3–22. doi: 10.1207/S1532754XJPRR1201_2
    https://doi.org/10.1207/S1532754XJPRR1201_2 [Google Scholar]
  9. Duck, S.
    (1973) Personal relationships and personal constructs: A study of friendship formation. London: Wiley.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Hall, M. R.
    (2006) Corporate philanthropy and corporate community relations: Measuring relationship-building results. Journal of Public Relations Research, 18, 1–21. doi: 10.1207/s1532754xjprr1801_1
    https://doi.org/10.1207/s1532754xjprr1801_1 [Google Scholar]
  11. Hallahan, K.
    (2004) “Community” as a foundation for public relations theory and practice. In P. J. Kalbfeisch (Ed.), Communication Yearbook (vol.28, pp.233–279). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Haraway, D.
    (1988) Situated knowledges: The science question in feminism and the privilege of partial perspective. Feminist Studies, 14, 575–599. doi: 10.2307/3178066
    https://doi.org/10.2307/3178066 [Google Scholar]
  13. Huang, Y. H.
    (2001) OPRA: A cross-cultural, multiple-item scale for measuring organization-public relationships. Journal of Public Relations Research, 13, 61–90. doi: 10.1207/S1532754XJPRR1301_4
    https://doi.org/10.1207/S1532754XJPRR1301_4 [Google Scholar]
  14. Huang, Y. H. & Zhang, Y.
    (2013) Revisiting organization-public relations research over the past decade: Theoretical concepts, measures, methodologies and challenges. Public Relations Review, 39, 85–87. doi: 10.1016/j.pubrev.2012.10.001
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pubrev.2012.10.001 [Google Scholar]
  15. Kemp, D.
    (2010) Community relations in the global mining industry: exploring the internal dimensions of externally oriented work. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 17, 1–14. doi: 10.1002/csr.195
    https://doi.org/10.1002/csr.195 [Google Scholar]
  16. Kent, M. L. , & Taylor, M.
    (2002) Toward a dialogic theory of public relations. Public Relations Review, 28, 21–37. doi: 10.1016/S0363‑8111(02)00108‑X
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0363-8111(02)00108-X [Google Scholar]
  17. Ki, E. J. , & Shin, J. H.
    (2006) Status of organization – public relationship research from an analysis of published articles, 1985–2004. Public Relations Review, 32, 194–195. doi: 10.1016/j.pubrev.2006.02.019
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pubrev.2006.02.019 [Google Scholar]
  18. Lederach, J. P.
    (2003) The little book of conflict transformation. Intercourse, PA: Good Books.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Ledingham, J. A. , & Bruning, S. D.
    (1998) Relationship management in public relations: Dimensions of an organization-public relationship. Public Relations Review, 24, 55–65. doi: 10.1016/S0363‑8111(98)80020‑9
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0363-8111(98)80020-9 [Google Scholar]
  20. Liberia: Sime Darby labeled ‘slave camp.’
    Liberia: Sime Darby labeled ‘slave camp.’ (2013, February25). New Democrat. Retrieved fromallafrica.com/stories/201302251471.html
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Maclean, R.
    (2016, July14). Liberia must pass land rights bill or risk jeopardizing peace, campaigners warn. The Guardian. Retrieved fromhttps://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/jul/14/liberia-land-rights-bill-risk-jeopardising-peace-campaigners-warn
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Maguire, K. , & Connaughton, S. L.
    (2011) A cross-contextual examination of technologically mediated communication and presence in long distance relationships. In K. B. Wright & L. M. Webb (Eds.)., Computer-mediated communication in personal relationships (pp.244–265). Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Mumby, D. K.
    (1988) Communication and power in organizations: Discourse, ideology, and domination. Norwood, NJ: ABLEX.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Muthuri, J. N.
    (2007) Corporate Citizenship and Sustainable Community Development. Journal of Corporate Citizenship, 28, 73–84. doi: 10.9774/GLEAF.4700.2007.wi.00008
    https://doi.org/10.9774/GLEAF.4700.2007.wi.00008 [Google Scholar]
  25. Putnam, L.
    (2001) Shifting voices, oppositional discourse, and new visions for communication studies. Journal of Communication, 51, 38–51. doi: 10.1093/joc/51.1.38
    https://doi.org/10.1093/joc/51.1.38 [Google Scholar]
  26. Shumate, M. , & Contractor, N.
    (2014) The emergence of multidimensional social networks. In L. L. Putnam & D. K. Mumby (Eds.), Advances in theory, research, and methods (3rd ed., pp.449–474). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Sias, P. M.
    (2014) Workplace relationships. In L. L. Putnam & D. K. Mumby (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of organizational communication: Advances in theory, research, and methods (3rd ed., pp.375–400). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Shome, R. , & Hegde, R. S.
    (2002) Postcolonial approaches to communication: Charting the terrain, engaging the intersections. Communication Theory, 12, 249–270. doi: 10.1111/j.1468‑2885.2002.tb00269.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2885.2002.tb00269.x [Google Scholar]
  29. Sigman, S. J.
    (1991) Handling the discontinuous aspects of continuing social relationships: Toward research of the persistence of social forms. Communication Theory, 1, 106–127. doi: 10.1111/j.1468‑2885.1991.tb00008.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2885.1991.tb00008.x [Google Scholar]
  30. Smith, B. G.
    (2012) Public relations identity and the stakeholder – organization relationship: A revised theoretical position for public relations scholarship. Public Relations Review, 38, 838–845. doi: 10.1016/j.pubrev.2012.06.011
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pubrev.2012.06.011 [Google Scholar]
  31. Stafford, L.
    (2005) Maintaining long-distance and cross-residential relationships. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
    [Google Scholar]
  32. Tourish, D. , & Barge, J. K.
    (2010) An exchange of letters: What can a specifically social constructionist perspective bring to bear on what must be one of the most studied subjects in human history. Management Communication Quarterly, 24, 322–347. doi: 10.1177/0893318909359698
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0893318909359698 [Google Scholar]
  33. Weedee, E.
    (2013, November8). Liberia: The aftermath of workers’ protest at Sime Darby. Heritage. Retrieved fromallafrica.com/stories/201311081257.html
    [Google Scholar]
  34. Weick, K. E.
    (1995) Sensemaking in organizations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): community-corporate relationships; Liberia; peacebuilding; relationship
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error